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How This Year’s Legislature Annual Meeting is Going to Effect our School

Ian Mathis, Hard News Writer

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The Utah legislature ended their annual 45 day session on March 8th. These sessions are held for the lawmakers of our state to go through proposals for new laws. During this session, many laws were passed that will change the structure of our state and the way Utahns live. One extremely important bill passed was new funding for education. This bill would affect all schools in the state, including East.

 

The community leaders were pushing for a referendum that would provide 700 million dollars of new education funding. The legislature denied the full amount, but agreed to provide 375 million dollars in new money for Utah schools. This money will come from a change in the way property tax is calculated and a possible new 10 cent per-gallon gas tax.

 

Representative, Mike Schultz, was the bill’s sponsor and chief negotiator. Many community leaders supported this bill, although some were concerned it did not go far enough.

 

The citizens referendum was called “Our Schools Now.” It was a ballot initiative that would ask voters to approve additional taxes in November to raise 700 million dollars for utah schools. The leaders of Our Schools Now agreed to a compromise with the legislature for 375 million dollars.

“We always hoped to work with the legislature to find a solution that did not require a citizens referendum,” said Austin Cox, spokesperson for Our Schools Now.

 

For many years, Utah schools have been funded at lower levels than any other state. Per student spending in utah has consistently been the lowest in the nation. An important part of the compromise is a 10 cent per gallon gasoline tax that voters still must approve in November. New funds from the gas tax will be dedicated to transportation projects, and funds that were going to pay for roads will  now be redirected towards Utah’s school.

 

Ballot initiatives have become a popular way for citizens to push for new laws or new funding options with the legislature.

 

More funding means more tools, resources, projects, equipment, ect. But the money won’t only be for students. The new funding will allow for schools to have smaller class sizes and more technology to improve student performance.

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How This Year’s Legislature Annual Meeting is Going to Effect our School